Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia pearls’

Different Ways To Instruct

Posted by terrepruitt on November 17, 2015

Every type of group exercise in a class format has its own way of doing things.  Some formats might be the type in which the instructor is actually shouting and yelling at the participants.  Some might just have instructions posted around the area and people are to move along and follow the instructions.  A Zumba class is a lead follow type of format where – at least when I earned my certification – the instructions are supposed to be more hand motions than verbal.  The instructor is not supposed to talk as much as just point and gesture.  Nia is also a lead follow format, but with verbal guiding/instructing.  We have specific points in our music when we are supposed to guide the class into the next moves.  We, also are to use what we call “pearls” to help people move their bodies.  From what I understand and the training I received we are not supposed to talk the entire time.  Nia is body centered, so the instructors are supposed to be silent at times to let the students dance in their own way to the moves and the music.  I personally feel that I can use work on both my use of pearls AND of being silent.  One thing about Nia, though, is it is about play, exploration, experimentation, and doing new things in order to stimulate the BMES (the body, mind, emotions, and spirit).  One thing that I have always heard about is the silent class.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia TechniqueSo, the silent class does not mean no music, it means no cueing.  Or at least that is what I thought it meant . . . turns out – just like many things – there are many ways to do it.  One of my students recently took the brown belt intensive and there she experienced a class with no cues.  She requested we try it.  Well, it so happened that I started on the path while she was gone so I asked a fellow Nia Teacher and Black Belt what she did in HER silent classes.  I was wondering if there was no cueing and NO SOUNDING.  I figured it would be a huge challenge for me not to cue, but I really was doubtful I could make it through a class without making a sound.  Her response surprised me in that she said she claps to indicate a move change.  Well, that just threw another wrench in the mix.  So . . . that meant that there was SOME type of cueing.  I mean cueing is alerting to a change.  LOTS of cueing is telling people what the change is and when and . . . etc.  But a clap is a cue.  So . . . to me that would mean it is a class with no VERBAL cueing.  She also mentioned that sounding would work depending upon the mood being sought for the class.  With her class — I think she does a specific routine — she does not sound.

So there are different ways to have a silent class.  There could be NO cueing at all.  There could be a clap to indicate the next move is a different one.  There could be pointing and indicating in some fashion something – either direction or side of body or body part or that something new is coming.  I really think that any of those ways is good.  Because all of them offer something different for the student.  And all of them allow the participant to focus on different things.

So for the past four weeks we have been dancing a routine with the intent of doing it without cueing.  I was going to dance it for three weeks, but I thought my student who requested this would be back for the fourth week (the planned silent class), but she wasn’t so I did it one more week so she could join the silent class.

We danced it without verbal cues today and it was very interesting . . . . .

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beginner’s Mind

Posted by terrepruitt on October 11, 2014

In Nia there is something called “the beginner’s mind”. Since learning about it associated with Nia, I have heard about it in association with other things.  It might not always be called “beginner’s mind”, but it is the same concept, the same idea.  It is the idea of stepping into something – anything, even if is something you are well familiar with – with a mind as if you are a beginner.  Step into it as if you are hearing it, doing it, seeing it, or learning it for the first time.  Step in as if you are a beginner.

This is a wonderful tool.  When you walk into a situation with an empty cup, when it is not full of knowledge on the subject, it is able to be filled with all the information, new stuff is easy to learn, stuff you already “know” can be learned in a new way, and your cup gets filled again.

There are many reasons why you might want to practice the “beginner’s mind”.  It could be because you are required – perhaps through your company, your certifying board, or any number of things – to take a particular class.  It could be because – even though you know you don’t know everything there is to know . . . the timing of the class has you thinking it will be a waste of time.  It could be — as just mentioned — you know you don’t know everything, but the length of the class has you thinking you will only get two hours worth of information out of the twelve hours you are being required to attend.

When I take a Nia class I always step in with a beginner’s mind.  I know that no matter what routine is going to be taught it is going to be different.  Which is not to say that the teacher will not do it correctly or will not do it the way it was taught on the DVD, but it does allow me to easily accept.  I accept the way the teacher is teaching it.  It flows so much better if I am just receiving as opposed to trying to inject my knowledge and the way the routine is supposed to be done.  I accept that the teacher might not teach it exactly as I teach it.  The teacher might use different pearls.  The teacher use different cues.  She might have found that a slight change in the choreography works better for her students or even something for her.  And . . . with the idea that I am doing it as a beginner . . . instead of an expert who knows the routine . . . I can learn something.  If I just do as I am being instructed I might sense that the move she does is actually good for a particular audience.  Or the pearls that the teacher uses really matches well with the movements.  Instead of my inner dialog being the moves or worse something like, “Well, here I say, ‘XXX'” or here we move like XXX, with my beginner’s mind I am listening instead of “talking” over what is happening.  All of this could lead to discover of a new movement pattern.

In regards to a training where you are required to be, it could just make it be less dreadful than you thought it would.  If you accept the fact that it is a requirement and decide to walk in with a beginner’s mind being told stuff you already know is not such a waster of time.  Keeping the beginner’s mind and not telling your entire story to prove what you know gives you time to listen to what others know and learn about them.  And — as stated before — possibly hear the same information but in a new way.  Allowing yourself to let go and not be the expert is freeing and lets you relax into the learning process.

I was grumpy this past week because I knew I had to spend my Friday night (FRIDAY NIGHT) and all day Saturday in a training.  I was afraid that my grumpiness would keep me from learning and be recognized by others.  So I asked for help and was reminded of the beginner’s mind.  I was able to step into the class not as grumpy.  Of course, I did mention the fact to the trainer that it was a long training and the trainer – being an EXPERT trainer and pretty awesome – agreed, gave me the sympathy I wanted and boom!  I got over it.  🙂  With my “cup” empty . . . I learned some cool things!

Do you every have the opportunity to practice the “beginner’s mind”?  Have you every practice the “beginner’s mind”?  How did practicing the “beginner’s mind” work for you?  

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6 Is Something We ALL Do

Posted by terrepruitt on December 18, 2012

The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6 is hilarious.  Ok, the principle itself is not hilarious it is just funny – to me – that it identifies something and names it.  But that is what some of the principles do for me.  The principles identify something that we do in everyday life.  Or they connect dance, Nia, teaching to something that is commonly known or done.  This is one of the principles that we – you, me, everyone – do all the time.  We – you, me, everyone – probably didn’t call it “Split, Ellipt, Blend” with a tagline of “Crafting With Attention”.  Basically the principle itself (Split, Ellipt, Blend) refers to attention.  As I was writing this post, I typed that the tagline in this case refers to teaching Nia, but then I realized that, while yes, the whole principle is designed to enhance our Nia practice and teaching, – as do many of the Nia principles – it can apply to everyday life.  So what is Split, Ellipt, Blend?

Well, as I said it has to do with attention, so in an everyday situation you split off your attention from others and focus on yourself, you focus 100% on another, and you blend it so your attention is on both.  So sometimes you might be doing something and completely focused on yourself and what you are doing.  You might not even notice other people or other things around you.  You are 100% concentrating.  Then you hear a loud voice and it is someone, your boss, your spouse, your child, coming towards you.  They have something to tell you.  So you stop what you are doing and you are 100% focused on them.  You are listening.  Once you understand the situation and realize that it is not an emergency requiring you to stop what you are doing you go back to what you were doing yet you carry on a conversation with the person talking to you.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaSplit into self.  Ellipt into others.  Blend with.

This is something we do in class as Nia teachers.  We might completely concentrate on ourselves.  Waiting to receive a pearl.  Thinking about the moves.  Sensing our body.  Then we might focus on the class.  Giving all our attention to what they are doing and how they are doing it.  Doing a Joy check.  Asking for sounds.  Then our attention could be on both.  We could be receiving information from the class as well as ourselves.  The “Crafting With Attention” is us being aware of the split, ellipt, and blend.  And how we use it.

A few things I have mentioned before, but will repeat again, “other” does not necessarily have to be another person.  You could be splitting, ellipting, and blending with your own body, with the music, with the movements, with many things. And . . . this is just barely a scratch on the surface of the principle.  This is just the broad overview and it is what I understood it to be about.  There is ALWAYS deeper to go in Nia and the Nia principles.  And sometimes the more I do, the more I see it differently.  Sometimes, not always.  So keep that in mind when I post again about The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6: Split, Ellipt, Blend, Crafting With Attention.  (For a list of Nia Blue Belt Principles see Terre’s post The Joy of Being In Relationship With The Nia Blue Belt Principles .

With that quick explanation, can you see how split, ellipt, blend applies to more than just a Nia Teacher teaching a class?  With an awareness of it, can you see how you can use it in different ways?

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pearls And The Realms, Part Of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3

Posted by terrepruitt on December 11, 2012

Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity – Pearls and the Realms, is an exciting principle.  I found it really exciting because there are things that Nia teachers are supposed to do in Nia class that I really wanted to learn to do better.  There is a particular way we are supposed to teach or more accurately there is a tool that we have available to us to use while we teach.  The “tool” is called a pearl.  When I go to other Nia classes I often find myself wanting to stop moving and just write down what the other teachers are saying.  I often find their verbiage, their wording for something to be just what the move is about and so I want to use that in my class.  Since I don’t REALLY want to stop dancing I repeat it in my head while I am dancing and sometimes I can even convince myself that I will remember what they said.  Sometimes I do remember and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I have a vague recollection that leads to a pearl of my own that works out fine.  These pearls are what we use to enhance the class.  They are words that allow the participant to connect to a move, the music, a feeling, a sensation, almost anything . . . . and this in turn allows for a better experience.  Part of the Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity, was a lesson on how to come up with pearls.  It was insight into where they can come from.

As a reminder, in these first posts about the Nia Blue Belt Principles I am just writing quick about what I initially got out of it.  I am just sharing and getting it down in print as a tool to help processes it.  This principle has a lot more to it than just assist with what to say and how to describe things in a Nia class.  As I said the principle is Awareness, Insight, Clarity, with a tag line of Pearls and the Realms.  And it is the pearls that I have been longing to learn more about.  So that is what I gleaned most about this principle.  As I go back and read the manual I am sure I will even get more.  As I continue to teach even more will be revealed.

Have I mentioned before that the manual is 276 pages?  Yeah.  It is intense.  It is a lot of information.  It is amazing.

Anyway . . . this principle gives us the place that the pearls come from.  It helps categorize them.  In knowing where they come from it is easier to allow them to come.  In the categories or realms a Nia teacher can decide to utilize pears from all realms.  To me this can help balance a class.An example of pearls we could use for each realm in a class would be:

Everybody sense your ankle.  This would be from the physical realm.
Everybody feel lonely.  This would be from the emotional realm.
Everybody imagine you are a dog.  This would be from the mental realm.
Everybody wiggle and jiggle.  This would be from the spirit realm.

I was so excited to learn the different type of pearls.  Part of my excitement came from confirming pearls don’t have to be physical and part of it came from realizing I did use pearls more than I thought.  I thought I used them a lot less, so it was nice to learn I use them, I just didn’t know it.

So the pearl portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity was a great eye-opening.  And, of course, you really can’t have the pearls without awareness, insight, and clarity, right?  I didn’t explain that here, but it’s true.  This post jumped right to the middle.  I may or may not do a post explaining about the first part.  I really think I should leave somethings for you to learn when you do your Blue Belt Intensive.  😉

Do you get excited when you think you are not doing something you are supposed to be doing but you find out you are doing it?

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Being Seduced By The Music Stage 2 of Nia FreeDance

Posted by terrepruitt on June 26, 2012

I have posted before about the 13 Principles in the Nia White Belt.  The fourth principle, FreeDance, has eight stages. I am working my way backwards posting about each stage.  This post is about second stage:  Being Seduced by the Music – The Art of Listening.  In the second stage of Nia FreeDance the exercise we perform is stillness.  We keep our bodies still while we listen to the music.  We allow ourselves to be seduced by the music and practice the art of listening.  When listening to a song that is not familiar or doesn’t have that “get-up-and-dance” beat it is not so difficult, but when the song is one that makes every part of your body want to move, when it is familiar, or one you love it is not easy sitting still.  It is not easy to sit with a tall spine that does not gyrate to the beat.  But when we do practice the art of listening with only our ears we might hear sounds we had not been aware of before.  While we are listening the idea is to name instruments and sounds that you hear.  Sometimes you might not know what you are hearing, either you don’t know the name of the instrument or it isn’t really an instrument at all, so you can give them their own names.  For instance something might sound like rushing water or trash can lids.  I know a Nia teacher whose husband is in a band and she is familiar with a lot of different instruments and the sounds they make.  She is very good at naming them when she hears them.  Me, if you look at my bars you will see a lot of spaceships.  There is a sound that I think of as a spaceship so I use that symbol to signify that sound.  I HEAR a spaceship.

This stage might sound a bit like RAW, where we are Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting while we listen to the music, but it is not.  Our bodies might be in the same position, of a lengthened spine and a relaxed state but in RAW we are just listening without opinion or too much thought.  We have no inner dialogue so there is no naming of sounds.  In RAW we are just waiting to receive.  With Being Seduced by the Music we are practicing the art of listening and naming what we hear.  We are engaged in the music even though we are not moving.

For me this stage of FreeDance might even produce a few pearls.  It could be that I don’t know the instrument so I think of what it sounds like which allows us to move “as if we are sloshing in mud”.  Or it could be that the sound just makes me think of a certain movement such as “throwing your arms in the air with a burst of sound”.  While I might not be purposefully trying to think of pearls with the seduction I just let my mind flow.  If there is a dialog then there is, if not, that is fine.  I just let the music flow and I listen giving names to this sound and that sound.

Listening to the music without giving it dance or without it allowing to move us in dance allows us a deep relationship with it.  We are not imposing our own ideals onto it as we move or we are not interpreting it, we are just letting it in.  We are just listening.  With that we learn about it.  We hear things we might have missed while floating about the space.  It is nice to be able to have that connection with the music.

Stage two of FreeDance, Being Seduced by the Music – The Art of Listening is just another toy in our toy box that Nia has given us to play with to become better teachers and better dancers.

Have you ever been sitting still listening to a song you have heard many times before and heard something you hadn’t heard before?

Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »